Topic: Ethnological

The Indian Races of North and South America

The Indian Races of North and South America provides ethnographic information (manners, peculiarities and history) on the tribes of North and South America. We’ve added pictures to the mix, to provide some sort of visual reference for the reader. This is an important addition to AccessGenealogy’s collection for it’s inclusion of tribes in South America and Central America, as well as the Caribbean Islands.

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The Choctaw Character

The Choctaws were quiet and peaceable among themselves, and no less so in their bearing and inter-course with neighboring tribes. They were ordinarily temperate in their habits, yet on “pay-day ” and other public occasions, they would, if it were possible, procure oko-ho-ma–whisky–and indulge in a “big drunk.” The United States agent and the officers of the tribe were indefatigable in their efforts to prevent the introduction and traffic of intoxicating liquors among them. The contraband article was, however, sometimes smuggled into the country, when its effects were soon visible. We rarely saw one intoxicated during our sojourn in the country; they were a law abiding people, rendering a cheerful and ready obedience to the authorities and laws of the country. They recognized their obligations to their government in all departments, and the officers of the nation were uniformly treated with the deference and respect which should ever characterize good citizens and loyal subjects. Antiquated rites and pagan ceremonies were almost wholly discarded; the ancient Indian funeral rites were still, in rare instances, observed by the least intelligent portion of the tribe; and, though less advanced in education and in the arts of civilized life than the Cherokees, yet in their steady, persevering, and resolute purpose to become an educated, intelligent, and respectable people they stood in the van of the border tribes. The Choctaws have retained their Indian...

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Choctaw Social Habits

The border Indians, so far as we could learn, all lived in families, recognizing the marriage relation, with its duties and obligations. Polygamy was tolerated in most, perhaps all the tribes, yet it did not exist to much extent. The Cherokees had enacted laws to prohibit it, but they had not been very rigorously enforced. The Choctaws tolerated the practice, yet under such restrictions as were well calculated to discourage and finally to suppress it. If a man should separate from, or abandon his wife, his property was liable to be seized by the light-horsemen and appropriated to the benefit of the divorced woman. I remember but one man in our district who had two wives, and they resided fifteen or twenty miles distant from each other, and each had one or two servants to serve as housekeeper. One of these wives united with the Church, after which she did not live with her man. She felt justified in her course, as she was the one last taken, and, hence, could not be his lawful wife. Separations and desertions were of rare occurrence. So far as we could judge they were faithful to their vows, and lived happily together, in most instances, till separated by death. The husband and wife usually kept their property distinct; this was true so far as annuities and stock were concerned, but the wife,...

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Sacred Dance of the Omaha Tribe

On June 12 Friedrich Kurz attended a sacred dance performed for the benefit of a wounded man. He referred to it in his journal as being given by the Buffalo Society, where all wore buffalo masks. It was held in a large earth lodge, and he was accompanied by the chief, Joseph La Flesche. The site of the small village mentioned by Kurz was identified a few years ago by R. F. Gilder, and some of the ruins were examined. It stood in the forks of the Papillion about 4 miles in a direct line west of the Missouri. To quote from the brief narrative: “It was here the Omaha lived last before going on a reservation, and where they were visited by the Swiss artist, Kurz. It was found that the ruins were quite shallow and had left but slight depressions, while others left small circular mounds above the surrounding level. The Rock Island Railroad has cut through the village, and at least one cache was exposed from top to bottom-about fifteen feet. In all instances the caches were outside the lodge sites. “The surface yielded fractured iron pots, delft or figured china of white man’s manufacture and rusty iron objects, besides flint scrapers and chips, potsherds, and the usual accumulations of a village prior to contact with white people. The writer cannot attribute the flint implements to...

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Blackfeet Tribe, How they Lived

The primitive clothing of the Blackfeet was made of the dressed skins of certain animals. Women seldom wore a head covering. Men, however, in winter generally used a cap made of the skin of some small animal, such as the antelope, wolf, badger, or coyote. As the skin from the head of these animals often formed part of the cap, the ears being left on, it made a very odd-looking head-dress. Sometimes a cap was made of the skin of some large bird, such as the sage-hen, duck, owl, or swan. The ancient dress of the women was a shirt of cow skin, with long sleeves tied at the wrist, a skirt reaching half-way from knees to ankles, and leggings tied above the knees, with sometimes a supporting string running from the belt to the leggings. In more modern times, this was modified, and a woman’s dress consisted of a gown or smock, reaching from the neck to below the knees. There were no sleeves, the armholes being provided with top coverings, a sort of cape or flap, which reached to the elbows. Leggings were of course still worn. They reached to the knee, and were generally made, as was the gown, of the tanned skins of elk, deer, sheep, or antelope. Moccasins for winter use were made of buffalo robe, and of tanned buffalo cow skin for summer...

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Timucua Indian Tribe

In the sixteenth century the Timucua inhabited the northern and middle portion of the peninsula of Florida, and although their exact limits to the north are unknown, they held a portion of Florida bordering on Georgia, and some of the coast islands in the Atlantic Ocean, as Guale (then the name of Amelia) and others. The more populous settlements of these Indians lay on the eastern coast of Florida, along the St. John’s river and its tributaries, and in the northeastern angle of the Gulf of Mexico. Their southernmost villages known to us were Hirrihigua, near Tampa Bay, and Tucururu, near Cape Canaveral, on the Atlantic Coast. The people received its name from one of their villages called Timagoa, Thimagoua 1Timoga on De Bry’s map , situated on one of the western tributaries of St. John’s River, and having some political importance. The name means lord, ruler, master [atimuca “waited upon (muca) by servants (ati)];” and the people’s name is written Atimuca early in the eighteenth century. We first become acquainted with their numerous tribes through the memoir of Alvar Nunez Cabeca de Vaca, the three chroniclers of de Soto’s expedition, and more fully through Réné de Laudonniere (1564). Two missionaries of the Franciscan order, Francisco Pareja (1612 sqq.) and Gregorio de Mouilla (1635), have composed devotional books in their vocalic language. De Bry’s Brevis Narratio, Frankfort a. M.,...

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Taensa Indian Tribe

On account of the recent discovery of their consonantic language, which proves to be disconnected from any other aboriginal tongue spoken in North America, a peculiar interest attaches itself to the tribe of the Taensa Indians, whose cabins stood in Tensas county, Louisiana, bordering east on Mississippi river.

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Tequesta Indian Tribe

Of the Tequesta people on the southeastern end of the peninsula we know still less than of the Calusa Indians. There was a tradition that they were the same people which held the Bahama or Lucayo Islands, and the local names of the Florida coast given by Fontanedo may partly refer to this nationality. They obtained their name from a village, Tequesta, which lay on a river coming from Lake Mayaimi (Fontanedo in Ternaux-C., XX, p. 14) and was visited by Walter Raleigh (Barcia, Ensayo, p. 161). The lands of the Aïs formed the northern portion of the Tequesta domains, and a place called Mocossou is located there on de Bry’s map. This extinct tribe does not seem to have come in contact with the Creeks, though its area is now inhabited by...

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Seminole Indian Tribe

The term semanóle, or isti simanóle, signifies separatist or runaway, and as a tribal name points to the Indians who left the Creek, especially the Lower Creek settlements, for Florida, to live, hunt and fish there in entire independence. The term does not mean wild, savage, as frequently stated; if applied now in this sense to animals, it is because of its original meaning, “what has become a runaway”: pínua simanóle wild turkey (cf. pín-apúiga domesticated turkey), tchu-áta semanóli, antelope, literally, “goat turned runaway, wild,” from tchu-áta, ítchu háta goat, lit., “bleating deer.” 1This adjective is found verbified in isimanōläídshit “he has caused himself to be a runaway.” The present Seminoles of Florida call themselves Ikaniú-ksalgi or “Peninsula-People” (from íkana land, niúksa, for in-yúksa its point, its promontory, -algi: collective ending); another name for them is Tallaháski, from their town Tallahassee, now capital of the State of Florida. The Wendát or Hurons call them Ungiayó-rono, “Peninsula-People,” from ungiáyo peninsula. In Creek, the Florida peninsula is called also Ikan-fáski, the “Pointed Land,” the Seminoles: Ikana-fáskalgi “people of the pointed land.” The name most commonly given to the Seminoles in the Indian Territory by the Creeks is Simanō’lalgi, by the Hitchiti: Simanō’la’li. Indians speaking the Creek language lived in the south of the peninsula as early as the sixteenth century. This fact is fully proved by the local names and by...

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Mikasuki Indian Tribe

“Miccosukee” is a town of Florida, near the northern border of the State, in Leon County, built on the western shore of the lake of the same name. The tribe established there speaks the Hitchiti language, and must hence have separated from some town or towns of the Lower Creeks speaking that language. The tribe was reckoned among the Seminole Indians, but does not figure prominently in Indian history before the out break of the Seminole war of 1817. It then raised the “red pole” as a sign of war, and became conspicuous as a sort of political center for these Southern “soreheads.” The vocabularies of that dialect show it to be practically identical with that of Hitchiti town. Cf. the comparative table, (Maskoki Word Similarities). More notices on this tribe will be found under:...

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